The winners who attended the event: Filmmaker Bramma – whose Kuttram Kadithal has bagged the Best Tamil Film award, Sathish Kumar – producer of Kuttram Kadithal, Na Muthukumar – who has received the award for Best Lyrics, and Dhananjayan – whose book Pride of Tamil Cinema has received a special mention from the jury.
In between answering numerous phone calls and responding to text messages, Sathish Kumar told us he knew Kuttram Kadithal would win accolades. The film, which is yet to be released, was featured in many film festivals, including this year’s edition of Chennai International Film Festival, where it won the Best Film award. After having produced over 15 films, including the critically acclaimed Aarohanam, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom and Paradesi, Sathish Kumar said that he has now developed an eye for interesting subjects. “Winning an award always reminds me to be more responsible,” he said. “My objective is to produce movies that are entertaining, and socially responsible at the same time. All the films that I have produced so far, should become a part of cinema libraries. Movie-buffs and filmmakers should remember my films to use as references.” Sathish Kumar is doubly elated, for his production house has bagged its second National Award in a row. Ram’s Thanga Meengal, produced by Sathish Kumar’s JSK Film Corporation, won the Best Tamil film award last year.
Sathish Kumar confirmed that Kuttram Kadithal will be released this summer.
Bramma, director of Kuttram Kadithal, has always been a man of few words. Usually, at press meets, Bramma would just have a couple of sentences to talk about the film. But, when we met him at Sathish’s office, he couldn’t stop smiling and reminiscing about making his debut project. And, he seemed evidently relieved. “No! I am laden with more expectations and duties now,” he began. “I didn’t want to do feature films initially. But the co-producer of Kuttram Kadithal, Christy Siluvappan, had watched one of my short films, and wanted me to write a script for a feature film…” Bramma finished writing the script in about 20 days, and Christy was floored.
The filmmaker, who has been writing and directing plays for 20 years, decided to bring a lot of theatre artistes on board, including a child artiste, who plays an integral role. “If you look out of your window, you would see a lot of people or your neighbours, going ahead with their lives. Nothing would seem artificial about them. That’s the kind of experience I wanted to give my audience. I wanted to make my actors look normal,” said Bramma. Kuttam Kadithal, which is a thriller, follows a teacher, and her relationship with her students. “I am sure you would have a hangover for two weeks after watching the film.”
Bramma is now working on his second project, which in his opinion, is about an important subject that’s not been dealt so far in Tamil cinema. “Andha padam olagamey pesara maadhiri irukkananum… And, I will surely work hard on it.”
Producer Dhananjayan’s book, Pride of Tamil Cinema (1931 – 2013) has received a special mention for Best Writing on Cinema. The jury observed in their official note, “Pride of Tamil Cinema deserves careful consideration for the sheer expanse of the work. The book is a painstaking effort which will have relevance many years down the line.”
Dhananjayan revealed that it took about three years to complete Pride of Tamil Cinema. “The book features stories on films that received national level recognition; the ones that got National Awards, and the ones that were featured at Indian Panorama Film Festival. And, that book has been applauded by the National Award jury. It makes me very proud.” He is now currently planning to translate Pride of Tamil Cinema into Tamil. “I am also working on my next book, which will be about a popular filmmakers’s films… ”
Lyricist Na Muthukumar was calm as ever. He has received his second National Award in a row. But, he had only a few words to utter. No surprise there. Last time, he bagged it for Anandha Yaazhai from Thanga Meengal, and for Azhagu from Saivam this time. “What makes me happier is that Azhagu was written from a child’s perspective, and I used common words to convey a nice message. Such a simple, heartwarming song has been recognised. That matters a lot.”
When he finished writing the song to the tune, he leaned back on his chair, and listened to it again. “It made me smile. It made me feel good,” he recalled. His favourite lines from the song:
Mazhai mattumaa azhagu
Sudum veyyil kooda oru azhagu
Punnagai veesidum paarvaigal azhagu
Vaarthaigal theergaiyil mounangal azhagu
Nanmaikku sollidum poigalum azhagu…